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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

"It’s the End of the World... Again" : UNCG Buffy Studies Class is Now in Session

Thursday 7 September 2006, by Webmaster

"It’s the end of the world . . . again :" Why Buffy Still Matters

It is rare these days to find a television program that goes deeper than a twenty-five minute onslaught of jokes, but if it’s found it is to be treasured. Such a treasure was found in the cult hit television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” a pop culture smash that introduced a feminine hero chosen to rid the world of vampires. This pop culture treasure will be examined through a year-long study sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies, the English Department, and the UNCG library called “Why Buffy Matters: The Smartest Show on Television.” Throughout the year, two episodes will be shown each month chronicling two episodes and clips from seasons one through seven. After the screenings, discussion will follow on various concepts, metaphors, meaning and significance on subjects such as feminism, religion, theory, language, politics, etc.

The television show is based on the metaphor of “high school is hell,” literally placing Sunnydale High on top of the boca del infierno, or the mouth of hell. Because of this, Sunnydale High is not a normal high school, and students not only have to battle homework, puberty, and their social lives, but teachers who are demons, students who are vampires, and trying to keep their body count down. Rich with metaphor and cutting edge dialogue, the show raised the bar on what it means to create “smart” television, inviting viewers to be participants in their own entertainment, instead of passive receivers of information.

Following the screenings, a lecture will be held afterwards to discuss the meaning of the show, its significance/importance to popular culture, and why it was so ground-breaking and intelligent. In addition to the screenings, a mini-Buffy conference will be held on Friday, March 16, culminating in a lecture given by Rhonda Wilcox, co-founder of the Online Journal of Buffy Studies, and author and editor of several books on the show, including Why Buffy Matters and Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dr. Wilcox is a 1973 graduate of UNCG and received her MA and Ph.D from Duke. She is the editor of Studies in Popular Culture and one of the founding editors of Critical Studies in Television .

Written and created by Joss Whedon, the Buffyverse has a tremendous fan base, and garnered a Golden Globe nomination, an Emmy nomination, several Saturn Awards, including awards for Best Actor in a Series, Best Television Series, and in 2002, was nominated for the AFI Award for AFI Drama Series of the Year.

Showcasing the entire series, the first installment will be on Wednesday evening on September 6 at 7:30p.m. in Room 1214 of the new Hall for Humanities and Research Administration.

Other dates include September 20, October 4 and 25, November 1 and 29, January 17 and 31, February 7 and 21, March 7 and on March 16, a “Buffy” Mini-Conference with Rhonda Wilcox.